The National Interest, 24 September 2023
“Mistaken beliefs in foreign affairs, including ones that are widely held and drive major policies, can persist for a long time. … So it is with the role of Afghanistan in international terrorism.”
The author – a former National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia and CIA chief of analytic units covering parts of the Near East, the Persian Gulf, and South Asia – writes:
… considering the Taliban’s history and objectives, a re-establishment of anything like their previous arrangement with Al Qaeda was unlikely. The Taliban’s earlier hosting of Al Qaeda came amid an Afghan civil war in which the Taliban were dependent on what Osama bin Laden’s group could contribute to the fight—a circumstance no longer existent as of 2021. The Taliban is one of the most insular ruling groups in the world, with no interest in international terrorism. The biggest setback the Taliban ever suffered—its ouster from power when the U.S. military intervened in late 2001—was a direct result of a terrorist attack by a group with a presence in Afghanistan. Now back in power, the Taliban have every reason to combat—not to condone—anything that looks like an international terrorist operation brewing on Afghan soil.
Definitely not a mainstream take, but going against the often (for various self-serving reasons) overblown alarmism when it comes to al-Qaeda and ISKP in Afghanistan.
This article was last updated on 2 Oct 2023